The Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier is one of the largest warships ever built in Silverport and by its Dockyards. While it has a sizeable weapons suite, the Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier primary function is to be seen as a carrier for aircraft, most of its armament intended to deal with any incoming threats.
The Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier is a classical monohull design, 201.1 metres in total length. It's draught of 14.1 metres enables these ships to make landfall in almost every harbour in the world. With a beam of 25.3 metres, it is a relatively wide ship.
With the main flight deck aft and a smaller one on the foredeck, the Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier can have five medium sized helicopters or VTOLs ready at all times, connected by the enclosed readyness hangar with four more spots with helicopters ready to be deployed. The lift in this readyness hangar is rated for twenty tons. Beneath this is the main hangar, where repairs and other essential functions happen, below which is the smaller reserve hangar, where more complicated repairs tend to happen or which can be used for storage and other purposes. With this, the Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier has two hangars.
The ship can carry up to 15 medium sized helicopters or equivalents, when the reserve hangar is used to store things (if it wouldn't be, the number would rise to 20).
Main housing of the crew and the embarked soldiers is below the main hangar, deep in the bowels of the Helicopter Carrier, as is the 300 bed main hospital, including five operating theatres, with a smaller emergency room being part of the superstructure, taking the load of medical care and intensive care off of the landing troops and their beachheads.
The Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier features a small well deck for 'classical' amphibious operations, but it is not a dedicated amphibious warfare ship. The well deck is measured 52.6 x 10.1 metres and can house a few amphibious vehicles or landing craft, from mechanized landing craft to amphibious tanks.
While the ship was designed with a reduced radar-crosssection, making it harder to detect, it is due to sheer size and bulk far from undetectable.
The Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier is equipped with full suites for Electronic Countermeasures (ECM), Electronic Support Measures (ESM) and Electronic Protection (EP).
Electronic Countermeasures, or ECM for short, are used to deceive and trick enemy means of detection and ultimately not having a guided missile slam into the vessel's side. Be they sonar decoys or radar jammers (Rasberry Jammers is the system we usually use), active ECM measures confuse the enemy's sensors, while passive measures include for example the jamming of the guidance systems of enemy missiles.
Electronic Support Measures meanwhile detect, intercept, identify, locate, record and analyze sources of radiated electromagnetic energy (for example radar) for threat recognition and other purposes, amongst them intelligence information. With these information, a commander can make the tactical and, if necessary, strategic decisions needed. It also provides the means necessary to gather information about the Electronic Warfare Systems of the enemy either in order to avoid an attack or to attack more effectively.
With Electronic Protection (EP), or Electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM), the ship is hardened against every kind of electronic attack, for example against scrambling and jamming. This allows to attack the enemy even when he feels safe with his jammers in place and activated.
The Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier comes equipped with a multitude of sensor and detection systems, amongst them sonar, one hull mounted beneath the bow, two as towed arrays.
However, the core of the Helicopter Carrier's sensor systems are its radars, two combined Air/Surface Search Radars, capable of tracking a target 450 kilometres away and of tracking 400 targets at the same time, be they on the surface, in the air or anywhere inbetween. These radars also double as air-traffic control radars.
This capability of course makes it possible for the weapons to begin working on removing any harmful target from the air or the surface or to coordinate the own fire with the aircraft and other ships in posession of a Type 900 Datalink and an Artio Battlescape Network or any other Battlescape Network System compatible with the Artio in real time.
Two Nuacht N-38 Fire Control Radars keep track of the own ammunition and make, if needed, adjustments to the aim. While the Ceantar C-84 Mark II 30mm CIWS aims and tracks with its own little radar, the larger Ceantar C-44 Mark II 40mm guns are not so autonomous, as are most of the other weapon systems of the Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier.
The N-4 Navigation Radar's function is to provide the navigation data necessary to steer the ship correctly and, when coupled with a knowledgeable officer, can be used for weather prediction as well.
In order to defend itself against threats without the need for usiing up ammunition, the Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier is equipped with a multitude of defensive systems, namely a Multi-Ammunition Softkill System or MASS and two chaff-launchers, as well as two torpedo decoy launchers.
The MASS is connected to the sensor systems, mainly radar, and uses the data to launch radar decoys operating on all relevant wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, confusing advanced, sensor-guided missiles. It can either be operated by a person or operate autonomously.
For the less advnced radar-guided missiles, the Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier is equipped with two chaff launchers, sending out far more primitive raadar decoys, which will not only confuse the missile's radar, but also the enemy's radar as well.
To counter torpedoes, especially those of the acoustic-homing variety, the Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier has torpedo decoy launchers, which send out something, which makes a lot of noise, which, in return, directs the torpedo into the decoy and not into the ship.
The Sealgaire-class' weapon systems are mostly defensive systems, organized in four layers:
- 1st layer: Four Ceantar C-44 Mark II 40mm AA Guns for interception of incoming aircraft, missiles (to a certain extend) and small watercraft, two Feadán Fe-3 Mark I triple Surface-to-Air Missile launchers for incoming aircraft.
- The 1st layer is the one with the highest range, capable of taking out any airborne threat against the ship. The Feadán Fe-3 Mark I fires Surface-to-Air missiles, conventional active radar homing missiles with a proximity fuse (adjustable prior to launch) for a fragmentation warhead, which releases 200 bits of shrapnel, small and high speed pieces of tungsten, unto the enemy - one of these isn't a great threat, but the combination of hundreds of bits destroys any aircraft hit and damages those, who think they can escape via countermeasures.
- The other part of the 1st layer, the four Ceantar C-44 Mark II 40mm AA Guns, are both for air defense and for defense against small watercraft. The guns and their turrets are designed to be controlled by external fire control systems, like for example the Nuacht N-38 Fire Control Radar, and linked to these via Type 900 Datalink, which provides the target data needed to adjust the gun at its target. While it is a fully automatic system, the gun can be controlled manually by an external operator using the mounted camera as his 'scope'. He (or she) would then release a 40mm shell onto his target by the tap of a button. The C-44 can be used as a weapon against missiles as well, but does not perform as well against these as for example the 2nd layer.
- 2nd layer: Two Ceantar C-84 Mark II 30mm CIWS and two Ceantar C-78 Mark II 23-cell RAMs for incoming missiles.
- Primary short range missile defense is housed in the 2nd layer, housing both the CIWS and the RAMs of the Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier. The Ceantar C-84 Mark II is the sifrst system of this layer, a semi-autonomous missile defense system spewing 30mm shells at any incomiing missile or any aircraft coming too close for it's own comfort. The Ceantar C-78 Mark II is a Rolling Airframe Missile System, basically responsible for the same thing, but longer ranged and with more power behind the shot, capable of destroying most incoming Anti-Ship Missiles in one shot. This system is controlled and aimed by the onboard computers, using data from the larger radars.
- 3rd layer: Two Gráinneog G-321 Mark II Hedgehogs for submarines.
- Defending against submarines is one of the most challenging things a ship can do - but once detected and within range of the G-321 Mark II Hedgehog, there is no escape for the submarine, especially not with the new Tormán Mark I shells: The hedgehog still rocket launches fifteen small shells into the general direction of the enemy submarine, but each and every of these shells now carries a small torpedo, an passive acoustic homing little weapon optimized for attacking submarines, penetrating their pressure hull quite effectively with 20 kilograms of high explosives. One will only cause problems for sure - two or more are a bit more difficult to handle.
- 4th layer: Four Feadán Fe-12 Mark I 8-cell Vertical Launch System.
- Vertical launch systems always had one advantage: Stuff a missile into them, fire them, watch the enemy go down. The Feadán Fe-12 is no different. Next to any missile fitting into the cell, be it single packed, double, triple or even quad packed can be launched from these cells (please refer to the manual for a list of not working missiles). These cells can be loaded with additional defensive missiles, increasing the amount of firepower used to defend itself - or they can be packed with offensive missiles, like the Type 40 AshM, adding firepower to the offensive capabilities of your fleet. It's entirely up to you.
Most of the armament is placed on the superstructure, excluding the two of the four 40mm AA-guns, which are placed at the stern in order to provide cover for landing helicopters. This gives most of the weapons an ideal firing arc, while the rest, the VLS-shafts mainly, don't need firing arcs.
To top the armament off, the Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier has two rails for depth charges or mines, although the latter is the far more useful application. They are placed above the well deck.
The Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier is capable of loading up to 15 helicopters of medium size, like the domestic Fuisce Utility Helicopter (these are not for sale, but the measurements are included so you have a rough measurement for what we call a "medium-sized helicopter"). VTOLs and similar vehicles, including the variety with vectored thrust, can be operated from their flight deck as well.
With the aft flight deck and its four landing spots for said medium helicopters on that deck, the Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier can provide air cover against submarines, for ground troops and transportation for those, as well as many more roles. As a dedicated helicopter carrier, it has a lot of advantages, which fixed-wing aircraft carriers do not have, amongst them extreme versatility: Next to every kind of helicopter or VTOL can operate from them, past and present and future (unless they don't fit into the enclosed hangar, which is six metres high), which enables the Sealgaire-class Helicopter carrier to adapt for different types of missions far easier then a classic aircraft carrier.
After the desastrous results in the first naval engagement of the Halfblakistani Expedition, the SDF-Navy realized, if they were going to need a ship capable of projecting naval air power. Since a classic aircraft carrier was out of question due to budget constraints, the SDF-Navy much rather opted for a helicopter carrier, smaller, but quite capable as well. An invitation to bid was sent out by the SDF to search for a candidate and soon they got a reply from SDY, presenting them with a pre-design for what later became the Sealgaire-class Helicopter Carrier. As time progressed, the design became ready to be built - and that was, what happened after the SDF approved the design.